1. What is a Pronoun?

A pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun in a sentence. Sometimes, repetition of the same noun in successive sentences gives an annoying and awkward taste, thus we ignore the noun and use a suitable pronoun instead of that noun.


2. Kinds of Pronouns

  • Personal Pronouns: I, my, me, our, we | you, your | it, they, their, he, she, etc.
  • Impersonal Pronouns: It
  • Relative (Conjunctive) Pronouns: who, which, what whom, whose, that | as, but
  • Reflexive Pronouns: myself, yourself, himself, themselves, ourselves, etc.
  • Indefinite Pronouns: anybody, nobody, somebody, all, either, neither each, other, they, etc.
  • Distributive Pronouns: each, every, either, neither, none, etc.
  • Demonstrative Pronouns: this, that, these, those, such, so, the same, one(alone), etc.
  • Reciprocal Pronouns: each other, one another, etc.
  • Possessive Pronoun: mine, ours, yours, hers, theirs, its.
  • Interrogative Pronouns: who? what? whose? whom? etc.

3. Reflexive Pronouns

When the action implied in the verb turns back upon the subject (doer) then we put a -self pronoun after the verb, that pronoun is called a reflexive pronoun. e.g., She killed herself.

Here are a few such verbs that turn back the action upon the doer.

absent, acquit, adapt, adjust, amuse, apply, avail of, avenge, cheat, drink, enjoy, exert, hurt, introduce, overreach, prepare, present, pride, reconcile, resign, revenge, satisfy, etc.
  • You can not choose to absent yourself from school before examinations.
  • We amused ourselves by watching the passers-by.
  • We enjoyed the movie last night.
  • We enjoyed ourselves in the movies last night.
  • She prides herself on her loyalty to her friends.

Some verbs do not take reflexive pronouns with them. e.g.,

bathe, hide, keep, move, rest, roll, shave, start, stop, turn, qualify, wash, etc.
  • One should keep from bad company.
  • Mr Dey hid the money under his bedcover.
  • We are moving to France.
  • We must rest under any tree nearby.

Remember! Emphatic Pronoun sits before the verb or after the object in a sentence.

4. Reflexive Pronoun can not be a subject or object of a verb, at least a pronoun is needed before it

  • Hi, Myself is Dev. (Incorrect)
  • Hi, I am Dev.
  • I myself cook at home.

5. Sequence of multiple Pronouns in a sentence

If all the pronouns are singular then the sequence will be 231

If all the pronouns are equal then the sequence will be 123

If the sentence expresses a confession or something negative then the sequence should be 123

In the case of plural, ‘we’ sits before ‘you’ and ‘they’ after ‘you’ 123

  • You, he and I are going to have a picnic.
  • I, you and she are responsible for the mistake.
  • We, you and they will play cards tonight.
  • You and he are invited to the party.

6. Sentence beginning with ‘It is’ / ‘It was’ takes subjective form of pronoun after these phrases

  • It is I who am responsible for the mishap.
  • It was she who helped me in my trouble.
  • Was it he who helped me in my trouble?

7. Objective case of Pronoun sits after Verb and Preposition

  • Between you and me, you are more intelligent.
  • Except you and me no one knows the secret.
  • Like you and me, Ravi also loves watching cricket.
  • Let you and me start to finish the grilled chicken.

Remember! Subjective case is used when it sits after conjunction

  • Not only you but also I was there by him.

8. Possessive case of Pronoun

I. If two or more than two subjects are joined by –

as well as, along with, and not, except, in addition to, like, no less than, nothing but, more (noun) than one,  rather than, together with,  unlike, with.

the possessive case of the pronoun (possessive adjective) (and the verb) is used in accordance with the first subject. e.g.,

  • My brother along with his friends has gone to his school.
  • The PM and not his cabinet colleagues is responsible for the decisions taken.

II. If two or more than two subjects are joined by –

either-or , neither-nor, not only – but also, none-but

the possessive case of the pronoun (possessive adjective) (and the verb) is used in accordance with the nearest or immediate subject. e.g.,

  • Not only my brother but also his friends have gone to their school.
  • Neither the boy nor his parents are ready to face his destiny.

III. When the pronouns

anyone, each, every, either, neither, many a, more than one, one

are used as the subject of a sentence, the possessive case of the pronoun should be in third person singular number.

  • Each one of them is doing his duty.
  • Either of the two girls was with her parents in the party.
  • One should respect one’s parents.

9. Speaking of Two Persons?

Use either, neither, each other for two persons. e.g.,

  • Neither of the two boys will go there.
  • Unfortunately, I was sitting at the table with smokers on either side of me.
  • Either candidate would be ideal for the post.
  • “Do you prefer chicken or mutton?” “I don’t like either.”
  • They’re always wearing each other’s caps.

10. Speaking of More than two persons?

Use anyone, none, one another. e.g.,

  • I did not speak to anyone yesterday.
  • None of my seven friends will go there.

11. When to use ‘Which’

Use ‘Which’ to make a selection or choice between two or more than two persons or things. e.g.,

  • Which of the two dolls would you want to take?
  • Which payment method is best for online payment from mobile?

12. When to use ‘What’

Use ‘When’ without an antecedent and it always connects things only. e.g.,

  • He wouldn’t tell me what she said.
  • He can’t decide what to do next.
  • I gave her what I had.
  • I gave her all that I had.

13. Use of ‘Both’

Both and And are couples in a sentence; Do not use Both in any negative sentence.

  • Both Riya and Pooja have straight hair.
  • Riya and Pooja both have straight hair.
  • Both men and women have complained about the programme.

14. Don’t use nouns after the possessive case of a Pronoun

  • This pen is mine.
  • This pen is yours.
  • Ours is a beautiful city.

15. In comparison same form of the pronoun is used

A Pronoun in the nominative or subjective form should be compared with the same form of the pronoun. e.g.,

  • He is better than I.
  • I respect you more than he.
  • I respect you more than him.
  • His shirt is costlier than mine.
  • I am taller than my father.

16. Pronoun for collective noun sits singular in form

  • The army has left its Head Quarters. (As a Whole)
  • The committee were divided in their opinion. (Separate Individuals)

17. Two singular nouns for same person is followed by singular form of Pronoun

  • The poet and author has published his new book.
  • The poet and the author have published their new books.

18. Use of ‘That’

That is used in a sentence to express the sense of ‘who‘ & ‘which‘. In four cases we use ‘that’.

I. In case of a superlative sentence, after the degree we use ‘that’. e.g.,

  • He is the best artist that I have ever seen.

II. In case of a few words, <all, any, one, only, same, the same, the few, the only, the little, etc.>. we use ‘that’. e.g.,

  • He is the only artist that can paint it.

III. In place of ‘who‘ & ‘which‘ when following antecedent. e.g.,

  • Many are the men and lands that I saw.

IV. In case of interrogatives who‘ & ‘what‘ e.g.,

  • Who are those people that asked for a separate electorate?
  • What were the demands that they asked for?